from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One that is exactly like another or a counterpart to another.
  • noun One that is like another in one or more specified qualities.
  • noun One that is able to compete equally with another.
  • noun One that closely resembles or harmonizes with another.
  • noun A pair, each one of which resembles or harmonizes with the other.
  • noun A game or contest in which two or more persons, animals, or teams oppose and compete with each other.
  • noun A tennis contest won by the player or side that wins a specified number of sets, usually two out of three or three out of five.
  • noun A marriage or an arrangement of marriage.
  • noun A person viewed as a prospective marriage partner.
  • intransitive verb To be like (another) or be a counterpart to.
  • intransitive verb To resemble or harmonize with.
  • intransitive verb To adapt or suit so that a balanced or harmonious result is achieved; cause to correspond.
  • intransitive verb To find or produce a counterpart to.
  • intransitive verb To pair (someone) with another in a romantic relationship or marriage.
  • intransitive verb To place in opposition or competition; pit.
  • intransitive verb To provide with an adversary or competitor.
  • intransitive verb To do as well as or better than in competition; equal.
  • intransitive verb To set in comparison; compare.
  • intransitive verb To provide funds so as to equal or complement.
  • intransitive verb To flip or toss (coins) and compare the sides that land face up.
  • intransitive verb To couple (electric circuits) by means of a transformer.
  • intransitive verb To be exactly like another; correspond exactly.
  • intransitive verb To harmonize with another.
  • noun A narrow piece of material, usually wood or cardboard, coated on one end with a compound that ignites when scratched against a rough or chemically treated surface.
  • noun An easily ignited cord or wick, formerly used to detonate powder charges or to fire cannons and muzzle-loading firearms.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To purify, as a vessel, by burning a match or matches in it.
  • To mate or couple; bring together in association or cooperation; join in action, comparison, contest, or competition: as, they are well matched; to match coins in gaming; to match cruelty with cunning.
  • To join suitably or conformably; bring into agreement; make harmonious or correspondent: as, a pair of matched horses; to match the parts of a machine.
  • To be a match for; be able to compete with; equal: as, no one can match him in his specialty.
  • To furnish or show a match, counterpart, or competitor for; find or provide something to agree or harmonize with: as, to match combatants for any contest; to match a jewel or a ribbon.
  • To contend.
  • To form a union; become joined or mated, as in marriage.
  • To be of corresponding size, figure, or quality; tally; suit; harmonize; correspond: as, these colors do not match.
  • noun A companion or fellow; a person or thing considered in comparison with another; one of a pair, or of a possible pair, as a married or marriageable man or woman, a competitor, or an agreeing or harmonizing object.
  • noun A person or thing that is equal to or on equal terms with another in any respect; one fit or qualified to mate or cope with another; a peer: as, I am no match for you in argument.
  • noun A pair; a couple; two persons, things, or sets mated or suited to each other: as, the horses are an exact match in height, color, or gait.
  • noun A mating or pairing; a coupling; a joining of two persons, things, or sets for any purpose.
  • noun An engagement for a contest or game; the contest or game itself: as, a match at billiards; a shooting-match; the terms of a match.
  • noun Hence An agreement or engagement in general; a bargain.
  • In building, to bring to a uniform width or thickness by any process, either by sorting and arranging the material or by cutting down some pieces to correspond with others: thus, planks are said to be of matched width.
  • In logging. See mate, transitive verb, 3.
  • noun The wick of a lamp or candle.
  • noun In general, anything that takes fire readily either from a spark or by friction, and is used for retaining, conveying, and communicating fire.
  • noun In a special sense, a slow-match having the form of a line or cord of indefinite length. See match-cord.
  • noun A match-lock musket.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Anything used for catching and retaining or communicating fire, made of some substance which takes fire readily, or remains burning some time; esp., a small strip or splint of wood or cardboard dipped at one end in a substance which can be easily ignited by friction, as a preparation of phosphorus or chlorate of potassium.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English macche, from Old English gemæcca, companion, mate; see mag- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English mecche, macche, lamp wick, from Anglo-Norman meche, mesche, perhaps ultimately from Latin myxa, a lamp's nozzle, from Greek muxa, mucus, lamp wick.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English macche, from Old English mæcca, from gemæcca ("companion, mate, wife, one suited to another")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French meiche, from Vulgar Latin micca (compare Catalan metxa, Spanish mecha, Italian miccia), which in turn is probably from Latin myxa ("nozzle", "curved part of a lamp"), from Ancient Greek  (myxa, "lamp wick")


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word match.


  • Besides these fears, she considered that Vivian was the possessor of a large fortune; that his mother had with difficulty consented to this match; that he was very young, had seen but little of the world, and might, perhaps, in future, repent of having made, thus early in life, a _love match_.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 05 Maria Edgeworth 1808

  • A cynic, my dear Arthur (_he opens case deliberately, puts cigarette in mouth, and extracts gold match-box from right-hand trouser_) is a man who (_strikes match_) knows the price of (_lights cigarette_) -- everything, and (_standing with match in one hand and cigarette in the other_) the value of --- pff (_blows out match_) of (_inhales deeply from cigarette and blows out a cloud of smoke_) -- nothing.

    The Sunny Side 1919

  • (_lights cigarette_) -- everything, and (_standing with match in one hand and cigarette in the other_) the value of ---- pff (_blows out match_) of

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 17, 1914 Various 1898

  • Accidentally I found a perl script with this regular expression: use strict; use warnings; my $textInner = '(outer (inner (most "this (shouldn\'t match)" inner)))'; my $innerRe; my $idx = 0; my (@match);

    AutoHotkey Community 2008

  • For queries consisting of multiple words, documents containing all of the search query terms in close proximity would typically get the nod over those in which the phrase match was “not even close.”

    In the Plex Steven Levy 2011

  • For queries consisting of multiple words, documents containing all of the search query terms in close proximity would typically get the nod over those in which the phrase match was “not even close.”

    In the Plex Steven Levy 2011

  • With just days remaining before their title match at Madison Square Garden, some questioned if Backlund would be able to compete.

    WWE Championship Kevin Sullivan 2010

  • The title match is schedule to begin at 4 p.m. Monday.

    Sloshing Through Queens 2010

  • Rain postponed the title match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Sunday, the third consecutive year the U.S.

    Sloshing Through Queens 2010

  • This week "Stone Cold" McMahon, with Howell in her corner, advanced to the title match with a brutal, no holds barred "Gutwrench Powerbomb" to the campaign of Democratic opponent Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

    Suzanne Langlois: 'Heel Superstar'* McMahon Should Have Been Disqualified For 'Low Blow' 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Contronymic in the sense: oppose vs. compose (create a comparison). E.g., match wits v. perfect match.

    January 27, 2007

  • [eOE Charter: Oswulf & Beornedhryedh to Christ Church, Canterbury (Sawyer 1188) in F. E. Harmer Sel. Eng. Hist. Docs. 9th & 10th Cents. (1914) 1 Ic Osuulf aldormonn..ond Beornedhryedh min gemecca sellaedh to Cantuarabyrg to Cristes cirican.

    June 27, 2008

  • patch.'>Me.mambodogfacetothebananapatch.

    June 27, 2008

  • In rock climbing, when you match a hold, you have both hands on the same hold at the same time. Sometimes in competitions, there's only room for 3 fingers in a hold, but competitors still find a way to transition from one hand's 3 fingers to the others' to make progress on a boulder problem. In competitions, you top a wall (complete it) by matching both hands to the hold labeled Top.

    June 13, 2022